Satisfaction, the contemporary philosopher Mick Jagger reminds us, is hard to find. Our culture has become the unsatisfied culture, an insatiable culture. Faced with more information than ever before, we hunger for it like animals: news and “news” (by which I mean gossip). With more options for entertainment than ever before, we grow bored and long for the next thing. With technology advancing at an astonishing, even alarming, rate, we push further and further, with progress the only real goal. How does one find and maintain some kind of satisfaction? In other words, where could I point and say to Mr. Jagger, “There, there is satisfaction”?
I found part of the answer in a Christianity Today article.
I was reading ChristianityToday.com’s interview with Bob Roberts about his “Glocal Church Ministry” ideas, and the following passage leapt out at me:
I was walking in a pasture behind my house one day. A pastor not far from me had had affairs with five women; he crashed and burned. Another guy north of me had a megachurch, but he was going to the pen for embezzlement. I told God, “God, I’ve got my pants on. I’ve got my hands out of the offering plate. You’ve got these guys over here doing all this stuff. Why aren’t you blessing me?”
All of a sudden this little question came to my mind: When will Jesus be enough for you? Sometimes, I think that’s when I became a Christian.
While Roberts has his ministry and church in mind, I’ve had the same thought in my mind recently. When will I be satisfied with Jesus? A hymn we sing in church, rearranged a bit for modern ears, has recently brought it home that much more forcefully. The lyrics are over 100 years old, and they remind me how powerful a hymn can be:
1 All my life long I had panted
For a draught from some cool spring,
That I hoped would quench the burning
Of the thirst I felt within.
Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings;
Through His life I now am saved.
2 Feeding on the husks around me,
Till my strength was almost gone,
Longed my soul for something better,
Only still to hunger on.
3 Poor I was, and sought for riches,
Something that would satisfy,
But the dust I gathered round me
Only mocked my soul’s sad cry.
4 Well of water, ever springing,
Bread of life, so rich and free,
Untold wealth that never faileth,
My Redeemer is to me.
The chorus in particular cuts me to the quick. Faith is not about feeling, I know, but the last time we sang that song, I was struck by how seldom I feel overwhelmed by not just His grace but His person. “Hallelujah! I have found Him…” It’s the hymnal’s–indeed, Christianity’s–answer to U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” which is an unofficial anthem for postmodern believers. Remember the last verse?
I believe in the Kingdom Come
When all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
Well, yes I’m still running
You broke the bonds
And you loosened the chains
Carried the cross
Of all my shame
all my shame
You know I believe it
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
I spent years looking for something more: at one time, it was experience; later, knowledge; later still, certainty. For perhaps the first time in my life, I am deeply satisfied by Christ Himself.